Rising Daniel Mateiko aims to reach for the stars

Daniel Mateiko

 Paris Olympics-bound Daniel Mateiko arrives at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi on Monday night from the USA where he participated in the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League in Eugene, winning the men’s 10,000m.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

 “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

That was the message from Daniel Mateiko upon returning from Eugene, United States of America where he won the Kenya’s national trails men’s 10,000m for the Paris Olympic Games on Saturday.

 “I have a dream of breaking the barriers just like some of the top athletes I am training with. I also want to feel like a world class athlete,” said Mateiko at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday night.

 “I have dreams that by God’s grace, I want to fulfil sooner than later.”

After representing Kenya for the first time in 10,000m at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Mateiko noted it was a coincidence that it’s the same place he booked his Paris Olympics ticket.

 “It was a dream come true having failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. I now have the opportunity and I thank God for it,” said the 25-year-old, who claimed the automatic places in the team for the Paris Olympics with his training mate Nicholas Kimeli, the 2022 Diamond League 5,000m winner.

Mateiko, who is a member of the NN Running Team, said that failing to qualify for the delayed Tokyo Summer Games that were held in 2021 inspired him to work harder and dream big.


 “At times life teaches you to treat obstacles as challenges to grow…I took it as a ladder to climb to the great heights and here I am going to the Olympics,” said Mateiko, adding that what changed in his training to finally make it was gaining self-belief and confidence. “You can train well but without that you can easily lose.”

NN Running Team also has the likes of the Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, three-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor and Olympic and world 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon.

Mateiko noted that training in the midst of such great athletes has greatly improved his game in terms of tactics and resilience.

 “There is nowhere else really you can source out for athletics ' knowledge if not from this group. Of course there are always ups-and-downs but one has to stay focused,” said Mateiko.

Mateiko, who is handled by Patrick Sang said he is hoping for a good collaboration with Kimeli and any other athlete that will be selected to join them.

 “We have what it takes to win in Paris. All we need is self-belief, confidence and good tactics. The 2022 world event in Eugene was a good initiation,” said Mateiko.

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) president Paul Tergat, who was in Eugene to witness the trials said Kenya has a strong team that can recapture the title they won for the first and last time at the 1968 Mexico Games through the late Naftali Temu.

 “We have a great future in Mateiko and Kimeli,” said Tergat, 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics 10,000m silver medallist.

Mateiko was inspired into athletics by his elder sister Valentine, the 2014 world under-20 3,000m bronze medallist.

It’s until Mateiko cleared Form Four in 2016 Moi Boys Kaptama, Mount Elgon that Valentine invited Mateiko to Kaptagat for training where he rented a house for him.

Valentine has established herself as an elite road runner, finishing fourth at the Paris Marathon in April, her last appearance. She was placed second at the Copenhagen Marathon and third at the Istanbul Marathon last year.

Mateiko paced at the London Marathon and Chicago Marathon last year where the late Kelvin Kiptum won in a course record (2:01:25) and world record (2:00:35) respectively.